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AUG
22
2015

Minnesota

Who wouldn’t be happy to be at Grandma and Grandpa’s house?

Aug17-1

Recently Ouest decided she wanted earrings. I admit, I was in no hurry. I know in Mexico, and in the States too, that it isn’t uncommon to get a girl’s ears pierced practically the day they are born, but we’d put it off all these years, and it began to feel a bit like a rite of passage. And like I said, I’m in no hurry to see Ouest through these rites. Can’t we just slow time down!

But who am I to keep a little girl from earrings?

Oh, and she got all her hair chopped off that morning too.

Aug19-1 Aug19-2

Getting ready for a road trip, because we just don’t get enough of those. Our ’65 Porsche has sat—unexpectedly, as most cars in storage do—for five years since we drove it back from Mexico with Ouest when she was only a couple of months old.

Ali’s dad started it a handful of times, but it’d been quite a while since the last time. It hadn’t been put away for long-term storage—winters included—but there was nothing to do about that now.

Taking the cover off it still looked as good as the day we left it. We wheeled it out into the sun and mulled over our options. It’s never been an especially easy car to start, so we quickly abandoned the idea of cranking it with the key. Instead we grabbed the six-wheeler, attached the winch to the small tow hook under the front of the car, and went for it. He pulled me around the field, but it wasn’t turning over. We puzzled over that for a few seconds before realizing that I hadn’t turned the key on.

He pulled me down the street in first gear and within seconds the car fired up and stayed going. I did two quick loops around the block and pulled it back into the garage. We siphoned the gas out of the tank, changed the oil and filter, and called it good. The battery was shot, so we pull started it again, and I went off for a twenty mile drive. Like new.

Or at least fairly new. It is fifty years old this year, after all. Remember, this is the car I came home from the hospital in as a baby—my first car so to speak.

The clutch is slipping a bit, and the parking brake cable is snapped, and we need a new battery, but aside from that the old car is ready for the open road again. We’re headed west—as always, it seems—in a couple of weeks.

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Four generations. Ninety-five year-old great-grandma recently moved into an old folks home and she couldn’t be happier. Live music, beer bingo, three meals a day—the place is perfect.

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Family barbecue.

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BY
COMMENT 7
AUG
17
2015

Mexico DF

Another day hanging out in Mexico City. There is so much to see and do here.

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BY
COMMENT 4
AUG
16
2015

Around the City

Reforma Avenue is closed off to traffic on Sundays, turning the insanely busy road into a pedestrian path where it is finally safe to go view some of the cities most well known monuments.

Ouest has been wanting to see El Ángel for awhile. It was pretty from the street, but we were really looking forward to climbing the steps to the top. For some reason they wouldn’t let us up, though. Something about it being reserved.

No problem, on to the Monument to the Revolution.

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The monument itself is huge, as is the plaza. The biggest “Triumphal Arch” in the world apparently. It reminded me of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but on an even larger scale. Best of all, at the foot of it is a water fountain park to play in.

The kids got me in there—after Ali volunteered me—and just about the moment that I had soaked my jeans straight through they said they were too cold.

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AUG
14
2015

Frida

Time to go. Back to the States for a few weeks, leaving the bus behind. The kids made a bunch of new friends that they got to play with for a few days while we tore the bus apart, fixed a few things, and cleaned every inch. We left it in such a state that it’ll be a pleasure to return to.

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The last step was to pack in the surf boards and a bike, throw a red tarp over the front half of the bus, and lock the door.

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An hour later we were in DF (Mexico City) with a few days to explore again before hitting the airport.

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Dinner on the street. Pick a meat—tacos are six pesos each.

Aug13-7

The Blue House, Casa Azul, or just plain Frida’s—that’s where we went today. The house that Frida Kahlo grew up in, and died in, is now a nice museum housing a bunch of her work, photos, art supplies, and original furnishings. Frida is an amazingly interesting person, and hugely revered in Mexico, so it was nice to take the kids here—especially Ouest—and teach her a bit more about this strong, and very unique, woman that we see all over the place to this day.

torta de tamal stand. Throw a tamale inside a soft bread roll and go into carb overload.

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We stumbled across the Panteón de San Fernando on the way to the Metro station—very cool to see many of the 1800s most famous men buried here. The names of so many of them are now street names in just about every Mexican town—Bustamante, Benito Juarez, Zaragoza, Vicente Guerrero, are just a few.

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Casa Azul.

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Frida and Diego.

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Walking down the street to the Leon Trotsky museum it seemed there was only VWs lining the sidewalks. The Trotsky museum was nothing special, though it was cool to see the house left largely untouched since he was murdered inside with an ice axe seventy-five years ago.

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Coyoacán—a Mexico City borough—was a nice surprise with a huge plaza filled with people and surrounded by restaurants and ice cream shops.

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AUG
11
2015

Pyramids of Teotihuacan

Last time we were here we thought how much better it would be to arrive first thing in the morning. With our kids, getting up early is not a problem (though either is going to bed early), so we were out the door at seven-thirty to watch the ruins of Teotihuacan wake up.

Because we stopped to take some pictures four guys beat us to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun. They took one picture together and ran back down, leaving us all alone with the view—we even brought breakfast.

On our way up Ali and I were puzzling over a large orange fence that wrapped halfway around the middle of the pyramid. Once we got up there we realized that the fence actually formed a single file line that wrapped back and forth five times to handle the afternoon crowds.

It was beautiful being up there with the morning sun watching the hot-air balloons go drifting by. Even the kids seemed to appreciate how unique it was to be all alone in a place like this.

After hiking down from the Pyramid of the Sun we walked over and climbed up the Pyramid of the Moon for a different perspective. Again, even though it was well after nine by now, we were the only ones up there. The peace had been broken by now though, by the army of weed whackers that keep the grounds trimmed. This is about the only place in Mexico that they aren’t just using machetes for trimming weeds. Even the road crews rarely get a gas eating weed machine.

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This is what happens when Ali says, “Hey you guys, let me get a picture of you with Papa.”

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“Papa, look at this picture I took upside down.” Proud of himself.

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Almost like he’s debating—hug or push? Siblings.

Aug11-17

Ouest wanted a picture of her and Molly together. Lowe wasn’t letting that happen, which eventually led to crying. We got her puffy-eyed picture in the end.

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The campground here is also used as the location of a Summer School program for seventeen kids. It didn’t take long at all for our kids to be fully integrated and for our bus and toys to become the center of the school. Ouest’s new bestie, Sofia, is eleven and speaks better English than I do Spanish. We spend a lot of time translating for each other.

Aug11-22